The trophy case in the home of Warren and Stacy Fulgenzi was full of tennis trophies, but it still felt empty since a couple of names were missing — those of Stacy and Brandelyn Fulgenzi.
Last week, mother and daughter took care of that.
They returned from Vancouver, Wash., with some hardware after winning the United States Tennis Association Mother/Daughter Indoor Championships at Club Green Meadows. The Fulgenzis, who were seeded No. 1, beat Vancouver’s Lynne Annett and Jennifer Bard for the championship 7-5, 6-3.
And the “Gold Ball” that Stacy and Brandelyn received for their efforts sits proudly on the dresser in Mom and Dad’s bedroom.
“It’s going to stay right there so I can enjoy it,” Stacy said.
It was well earned. The doubles team didn’t come together until last year and they won their first tournament in Austin, Texas, although it was only a Level Two tournament. By comparison, the Mother/Daughter Indoor Championships was the highest on the USTA ratings system — one.
They had played in a few local tournaments and Stacy and Brandelyn have also played with Warren and Warren Jr. in mother/son or father/daughter tournaments. Yet, this one meant more because of the level of competition.
In beating Annett/Bard, the Fulgenzis beat the Club Green Meadows pro in Bard. Brandelyn, who is 12, admitted feeling nervous playing against daughters who were older than her.
“I was kind of scared, but once I started playing I saw I could do this,” Brendalyn said.
But it wasn’t an easy path. In the quarterfinals, Stacy and Brendalyn were down 4-1 in the third set to Kathleen and Sophia Preston before rallying for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win. Despite the close call, the Fulgenzis counted their 6-0, 6-3 semifinal win over Kathleen and Kelsey Kinnard as their most challenging.
“Every game went to deuce four or five times, if not more,” Stacy said. “Somehow we were able to put together the points to win each game. Physically and mentally, that was the toughest match we had.”
While the finals were a bit easier, Stacy and Brandelyn held a 5-0 lead in the second set before Annett/Bard won the next three games. The last thing the Fulgenzis wanted to see was a third set.
“That would have been challenging if we had let that [lead] slip,” Stacy said. “But we managed to hold on.”
Brendalyn said they have found a way to mesh.
“We have very good communication,” Brendalyn said. “She does well in returning and that helps me cut the middle ball off and win the point.”
It continues what has been a good year for the Fulgenzi clan.
Warren Jr. won a Class AAAA doubles title for Santa Fe High as an eighth grader, making it the 18th state title won by a Fulgenzi, a clan that extends into Las Vegas, N.M. Meanwhile, Warren Sr. reached the doubles finals of the USTA Men’s 40-and-over Indoor Championships in April.
The only downside Brendalyn sees is that it was the last big tournament she will compete in until November. She will satisfy her competitive edge by playing volleyball at Gonzales Community School and battling her older brother on the tennis courts.
“It gets really competitive,” Brandelyn said. “We have to beat each other. Whoever loses gets really mad.”